We could see the first non-Pro AirPods model with active noise cancellation this year

Apple plans to release two new AirPods this year to replace the second and third-generation models. According to Mark Gurman, writing in this week’s Power On newsletter, Apple will release a new AirPods entry-level variant with the model number B768(E) and a new mid-tier version with the model number B768(M). Production of the pair will start in May at facilities owned by manufacturers GoerTek Inc. and Luxshare Precision Industry Co. The new AirPods should be released in September or October.
The new AirPods will have a new design, and fit better in users’ ears, and the charging cases will feature a USB-C port for charging instead of a Lightning port. The mid-tier model will include active noise cancellation (the first non-AirPods Pro model to do so) and the case will include a Find My speakers feature to help the AirPods owner find his earbuds if they are inside a lost carrying case. Gurman states that Apple is planning to produce a record number of AirPods with 20 million to 25 million units of the new earbuds expected to roll off the assembly lines.
Besides changes to the hardware, we should expect some software-related changes for the AirPods this year. One, which would come in connection with the release of iOS 18, would add a hearing aid mode for the AirPods Pro allowing the premium earbuds to be used as a hearing aid. Some hearing aids can now be sold without a fitting and the thought is that some people with hearing loss, too embarrassed to wear a regular hearing aid, might be more likely to wear AirPods to help them hear. A new AirPods Pro model is expected to be launched next year at the latest.

Another possible feature being considered by Apple is to add a hearing test to the AirPods allowing someone who wears the device to check their hearing. Gurman also says that Apple is working on a future AirPods model that will be equipped with a low-resolution camera that will show the area around an AirPods user. We assume that these images would be available to be viewed on the user’s iPhone and would show what is behind the user that he /she can’t see while looking straight ahead.

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